The Shamrock Series is one of the most distinguishable parts of Notre Dame’s modern football program. Games played as a part of the Series provide the team and fan base with the experience of a bowl game (arguably much better and ND-tailored) during the regular season which is really cool. Outside of the experience for players, fans, alums and locals from hosting regions, the games also play a strategic role for the program strategic by generating additional revenue streams and maintaining its presence in some of the United States’ largest regions.
History of the Series
Notre Dame adopted the Shamrock Series during the 2009 season and it’s played ten games as a part of it since then. I attended that Maryland-FedEx Field game in and can say that it had one of the best college football atmospheres I’ve ever been (including games at Notre Dame Stadium).
It’s easy to get spoiled (at least for me) and forget how special the games are in the larger scheme of things, though, since they’ve become such staples of the regular season schedule. But a bye week going into the 2022 Shamrock Series game provides a bit of a window to look back on the Series, mainly from a data perspective.
Dominance on the Field
Based on actual game outcomes, the Irish have yet to lose a Shamrock Series game. The asterisks can be chalked up to the vacated history against Arizona State during the 2013 season and the 2020 game against Wisconsin that ended up getting bumped altogether until 2021. The game outcomes, through the points lens, have always been significantly dominated by Notre Dame. The Irish have averaged 36 points scored per matchup, compared with 13 for opponents. The average points difference for the ten Shamrock Series games is 23 points. The strength of Shamrock Series opponents (as well as ND teams) have varied from season to season but the Series has been a consistent source of both on and off the field success for the Irish program.
Outside of the Midwest, Shamrock Series roads have traditionally led the most to the Lone Star State. The Series’ first game was played at the Alamodome in San Antonio. Notre Dame would next take the show to Texas in 2013. That year’s installment took place at the AT&T Stadium (with all of its new Jerry World prowess) in Arlington. The Shamrock Series made its third and most recent Texas appearance back where it all began in 2016 at the Alamodome. It’s estimated that the combined attendance of Texas Shamrock Series games is around 165,000. The AT&T Stadium game’s estimated attendance is only bested by the FedEx Field game played in 2011.
Washington State, Arizona State and Army are the Shamrock Series’ opponents that Notre Dame has played in Texas. The Arizona State game (AT&T Stadium) was the closest, ending with a slim, 37-34 ND victory. Both the Washington State and Army games were characterized by much more dominant, Irish performances.
The Irish and the Big Apple
Notre Dame has played two Shamrock Series game in New York. Both of the games took place at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. It’s estimated that the combined attendance for Shamrock Series games in “The Cathedral of Baseball” is 102,355.
Opponents failed to score more than 3 points in both of the Shamrock Series’ New York games. These big wins came against Army (2010, 27-3) and Syracuse (2018, 36-3).
Boston and the DMV
The Shamrock Series has logged two East Coast stops in addition to the New York games.
The first of these matchups was hosted at FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland. This 2011 game against Maryland posted the Shamrock Series’ highest official attendance estimate, a little more than 70,000. The Irish ended up beating the Terrapins by a wide margin, 45-21.
Notre Dame has also played a Shamrock Series game in Boston, Massachusetts. This game was played at Fenway Park in front of an estimated 38,686 attendees. The 2015 Fenway game resulted in a slim 19-16 victory against Boston College.
Back Home in the Midwest
The Irish have played three Shamrock Series games back in the Midwest. The estimated, combined attendance for the Midwest games is 179,274. Two of the Midwest matchups were played at Soldier Field in Chicago, with a combined attendance of 122,442. In the first Soldier Field game, the Irish faced Miami (FL) in 2015 in front of the Series’ third largest crowd. Notre Dame beat the Hurricanes by one of the largest margins of the Series, 41-3. The second Soldier Field games was also the most recent edition of the Shamrock Series. During that 2021 matchup, the Irish beat Wisconsin by a wide margin, 41-13.
The Shamrock Series’ third Midwest game was played at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. The Indy matchup resulted in a 30-14 win against Purdue.
This year the Irish program will be taking the Shamrock Series to its westernmost home. The team will meet BYU at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The data preview for that game will come later but regardless of whatever happens on the field, I’m really excited about what the 11th edition of the Shamrock Series has in store as a total package.
Cheers and Go Irish!!